Sunday, October 24, 2004

When the Weird Become Dangerous

The campaign whirlwind swooped into Melbourne, Florida yesterday in unholy shape. A terrible spate of withdrawal and sickness can put the fear of God in a true believer. After two visits to the Air Force One clinic, much cortisone, several visits to the UV lamps and those alcohol-prohibiting diuretics, the preznut was at least able to walk somewhat erect as he was whisked into another staged re-election event. He approached the crowd for handshakes like a gorilla with a tranquilizer dart in his hind quarters and he had that dazed look of a calvary officer being ambushed in the Indian wars. Times are looking grim for the Chimperor, and the weird are becoming dangerous.

Big John limped into October as a four-point underdog with little chance of winning three rigged soirees with an unscrupulous little deviant like the preznut. But the debates are done, and the victor was clearly the challenger each and every time. Big John beat him down repeatedly, until the preznut looked like Chuck Wepner in Round 15. The only thing that the GOP campaign staff could do was issue pseudo-horror statements about outing this country's most recognized lesbian.

Karl Rove, the head of the preznut's political Gestapo, knew it died in Coral Gables. There is rampant despair in the heart of Crawford today, and panic in the secret bunkers of the White House. The GOP has a terrible problem, and its name is Dubya. He looked weak, tired and vacant. Big John beat him like a drum again in St. Louis and Tempe -- and that is Rove's most pressing challenge: His Texas motor-mouth is a sheepish frat boy who scurries for cover when confronted by 60 million television viewers. The first JFK did it to another crazed, right-wing gerbil named Nixon, and the second JFK took his tin-pot, mark-down version to the woodshed once again.

Right after the first debate cut to the political talking heads I phoned Ben Affleck at his Beverly Hills compound, because young Ben knows what it's like to lose it all when the pressure mounts. You see, Affleck and I are Red Sox fans and we know choke when we see one. "That was the same look from 1986," he shouted. "I swear I could hear Vin Scully saying, 'A little roller up to first' when Big John brought up Osama Bin Laden. The preznut tried to put the glove down, but it went right between his legs."

All Red Sox fans have seen that deperate look before. Almost 18 years to the day, the Red Sox were one strike from winning their first World Series in decades -- when strangely, John MacNamara didn't subsitute Bill Buckner with Dave Stapleton for defensive purposes -- and disaster struck like a lightning bolt from the heavens on a routine ground ball. After the seventh and deciding game was played, which was more like forgone conclusion, the Red Sox were sitting in the dugout watching the Mets celebrate an impossible win with tears in their eyes and looks of horror rising from their hearts. The entire New England region reacted like John Kennedy was shot and limped into a spell of collective depression lasting more than 10 years.

The first debate was also a disaster of biblical proportions. The preznut's inner circle had to be moonstruck to let him get in the ring with JFK2 again. Rove didn't study his history on Massachusetts senators; he didn't see it coming like many of the Big John supporters did. In front of a country awaiting answers, the bankrupt frat boy had his will broken and the Beltway sucking sound you now hear is the Chimp's legacy swirling down the drain. IT'S BEHIND THE BAG!

Less than two weeks left, and momentum continues to swing in Big John's column. After a month of trailing the preznut in the projected electoral college race, the challenger now has a 284 to 244 lead over Chimpy, according to the latest state-by-state straw poll -- and that's with Minnesota being declared as a draw. Another poll by the Washington Post gives Big John a 10-point advantage in 13 crucial swing states. More critically for the preznut, he's polling under 50 percent in most every swing state; history shows us that undecided voters swing away from an incumbent on election day at a 2 to 1 clip, and the Chimperor's inability to reach 50 percent is a mushroom cloud on the horizon.

National politics is a savage business, where the sharks outnumber the fish, and there is always blood in the water. To take the White House you have to be vicious, ruthless, single-minded and near sociopathic. The game is played with swords and not words, and the gridiron is filled with toppled bodies and amputated arms and legs. That is why the political pundits call spin alley a MASH unit. Your candidate walks into the waiting area bleeding profusely and it's up to the meat doctors to stabilize your candidacy before vultures swoop in for the carcass. Ask Ed Muskie and John McCain about rumors that stick, both of whom got ambushed by GOP lies and dirty tricks.

The GOP has a history of using guys like Donald Segretti, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. The Democrats counter with river boat gamblers like James Carville, Joe Lockhart and Paul Begala. It's all part of the electoral fabric, just like the American flag, God, staged campaign stops and nightly spin on cable television.

The praetorian nature of national politics in America is too scandalous to fight against, and while some get totally unhinged with the prospects, a very precious few call it fun and I am one of those unnatural creatures. Presidential Election Day - the boffo event for the country - is a barbaric and petrifying exercise for political junkies, and it warms my soul like no other day in a life of wild days. It's because Election Day is a planned day of national anarchy. People like me look forward to Election Day like adrenaline addicts look forward to jumping out of the plane. We are addicted to it, and so are the campaigns.

Not even in the WWE is the line between winning and losing so starkly contrasted. The winners don't look satisfied, they look ... vindicated ... while the losers cry in their cocktails knowing that they will be forced to get down on their pathetic knees and beg for scraps from the lunch room table. The vindicated who are lucky enough to emerge victorious from these planned seditious moments are crazy with joy and act irrationally by raising the bottles of DP with naked co-ed strangers who want to get close to the winner - my, oh my, the power of it all.

That's how the vindication business works. And it happens every four years, planned, staged and rehearsed. The beaten down will try and cut a deal in those last fateful hours, ripe with the fear of losing their cushy gig and all that money and all the whimsical powers they had just a day sooner. It feels like you went to Vegas and put everything on the spin of a wheel and the number came up red, forcing you to lose your wife and your bank account and your kids, and in the wee hours of the morning you find yourself whoring for dinner in public places while the victorious - the vindicated - find happiness in your personal misery.

On November 3rd, it will go something like this:

"Where is all that horrible screaching coming from, Sparky? I'm getting annoyed."

"That is Karl Rove begging for forgiveness, Mr. President-Elect. He came in to apologize for the Swift Boat guys, but we jack-booted him in the teeth. Your secret service reserves are dragging him into the bunker and they'll teach him something about good manners, sir."

"Excellent news, Sparky. And how's the new Enemies of the State list coming along? Those people are filth and they need to be locked under the jail."

"We will have them beaten by Green Berets and gouged by interrogation specialists. Most of them voted for Dubya anyway. I despise those sons-of-bitches."

"Very nice news, Sparky. You have been a very faithful supporter. Kneel down over here. How can I reward your service?"

Big John and The Chimperor already know who the vindicated will be. A studied observer can see it in the body language of the two candidates. One looks supremely confident and presidential, and the other reeks of doom and defeat.

Yes, the voting public appears divided and acidic right now, and so is this dangerous election. The costs incured from a cute political game of divide-and-conquer are starting to pile up in a slagheap and the weight is beginning to rumble the Earth. The debates made that cost so abundantly clear. Big John looked presidential while the preznut looked like ... a governor ... of a backwards state, and this energized the challenger's troops just at the right time. And now voting for Big John looks like the vindictive thing to do, while Dubya is beginning to appear like a desperate loser waiting for his pimp to show up at the door.

The appearance of desperation is fatal for a candidate, and the Chimperor has that familiar, God-awful stench.

"Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis," said famous gonzo author Hunter S. Thompson at a hastily called press conference near his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. "Only a fool or a sucker would vote for a dangerous loser like Bush," the Good Doctor warned. "He hates everything we stand for, and he knows we will vote against him in November. I endorsed John Kerry a long time ago, and I will do everything in my power, short of roaming the streets with a meat hammer, to help him be the next President of the United States."

As it stands right now, Big John has the peculiar gleam of a vindicated leader and the margins are widening. And with Gore already stumping and Clinton joining the carnival tomorrow, there is big momentum and nobody wants to back a loser. In the end, the preznut is lucky that Americans have a forgiving heart and won't hang him upside down in DC like Mussolini and beat his wife into a quivering bloody sushi.

The weird have become dangerous and Big John is remembering what it was like to have blood on his hands.


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